Consider Gregor Mendel's studies in genetics. Can geneticists accurately predict the possibility of the inheritance of a genetic disease? Why or why not?
There is an endless amount of genetic diseases among the population that are inherited in a number of ways. These genetic disorders can be very minute, completely debilitating or somewhere in between. Gregor Mendel paved the way for typical inheritance patterns, but there are a number of ways in which genetic disorders can arise.
Answer and Explanation:
To be concise: no, not every single genetic disorder can be accurately predicted. There is a plethora of genetic disorders; these genetic disorders can be single-gene or multifactorial, and chromosomal abnormalities.
Single-gene disorders are commonly studied in classes such as genetics. These inheritance patterns can be predicted in many ways, such as autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, X-linked dominant, X-linked recessive, etc. These disorders can be easily, and mostly accurately, predicted. This is because they are heavily studied and inheritance patterns can be observed.
Multifactorial disorders include many components. These components include: multiple genes, lifestyle factors, etc. So these disorders are typically more difficult to accurately predict the inheritance because these disorders are contingent on multiple different factors. An example of this would be disorders such as diabetes. We know it can be inherited genetically, but we are not really sure of the exact chances of passing the certain genetic trait on to the offspring and it being expressed phenotypically. There are some individuals whose parents both have diabetes but the individual does not. As we know, type 2 diabetes is heavily exacerbated by environmental factors such as poor diet and exercise. So some one who is predisposed can combat the disorder by adhering to a healthy lifestyle.
Chromosomal abnormalities include disorders such as Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), in which there is a third copy of chromosome 21. Conditions such as these are typically difficult to predict because both parents and family do not display this anomaly.
Single-gene disorders are easier to predict because the pattern of inheritance is studied. Multifactorial and chromosomal abnormalities are nearly impossible to accurately predict because there are multiple different factors that contribute to these disorders. While Geneticists may be able to attempt to predict the possibility of inheritance, it would be false to say it would be accurate.
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from Biology 102: Basic GeneticsChapter 6 / Lesson 3